Understanding and Managing Stress

Stress is destructive to health and relationships. Stress is experienced when a person feels demands and expectations that exceed perceived available resources. Resources may relate to time, money, skill, tools, etc. The perception of the imbalance between the demands and resources and potential future adverse consequences for failing to meet the demand or expectation does not have to be correct in order for the situation to cause stress. That is, false understandings or beliefs can cause significant stress. Therefore any event or thought that causes a person to perceive a threatening demand is a potential source of stress.
It is true that on this planet there are situations that need to be reacted to and in the absence of stress, our species would never have survived. Accordingly, a positive aspect of stress is that it alerts you to a threat and provides you with increased levels of energy and motivation to help in coping with the threat. However mishandled stress or too much stress causes strain and can be devastating for you.
The negative effects of stress are numerous and perhaps we don’t even know them all. However, they include fatigue, irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating, a lower immune system, a variety of serious physical health problems, insomnia, depression, anxiety, loss of personal relationships, over eating and drug and alcohol abuse.
There is no one way to deal with stress. Stress may be reduced, eliminated or managed by addressing one or more of the underlying components of stress. For example you might reduce demands by planning ahead, increasing available resources, just saying “no”, finding ways to increase efficiency. Or, you might reduce the stress emotions by taking a break from the stressful situation, relaxing, exercising, getting a massage, taking a vacation. Or, you might eliminate or mitigate the impact of the consequences of failing to meet the demand by preparing for the consequences (e.g. having a savings account or buying insurance), changing your priorities (so what if the car doesn’t get washed?), accepting what can’t be changed, putting energy towards improving the situation.
You need to have the correct perspective concerning the demands you face. You need to be aware of your capabilities, resources, and the real consequences of failing to meet a demand. You need to see things accurately without distortions. Believing something is terrible when it is only just unpleasant can cause unnecessary stress.
There is scientific evidence that suggests that the experience of stress in the past magnifies how you react to stress in the future because stress actually alters your body and your brain. You can become sensitive to stress and then even the smallest stressor can invoke reactions in your brain and body that cause your brain to treat a small incident as a life threatening event. Because some stress is requisite for humans, your body is designed to provide an appropriate reaction to stress depending on the degree of the threat. However, when you become sensitive to stress due to earlier stress experiences, your body’s response that is designed for life threatening events is activated by ordinary trials and tribulations of life such that you respond inappropriately (in other words, overreact). This sensitivity to stress may begin during childhood. It is likely that the impact is greater when it is initiated during childhood.
It is of extreme importance that you become aware of your body so that you can sense when it is getting stressed and either reduce the stressors (i.e. demands perceived to exceed resources and perceived negative consequences) or take time for meditation, yoga, exercise, gardening, reading, writing, listening to music, going for a walk. Also, the knowledge about being sensitive to stress due to past stress experiences (i.e. the life-death reaction to inconsequential matters) is helpful, if it applies to you, because you can use logic and rational thoughts to understand why you’re reacting as you are and to correct this behaviour if you feel yourself overreacting to stressors.
You are vulnerable to stress and will experience stress; but you do not have to be its victim. You have the ability to control stress and what you permit it to do to you.

Think yourself Thin

In this celebrity obsessed world, our quest for perfection has never been greater.  Trying to live up to how we think we should look can govern an enormous part of our everyday lives.  So wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find a way to enjoy natural weight loss by using an easy and highly effective method that puts an end to fad dieting and constant self-doubt?


The Technique in a Nutshell

It’s called the mind-body technique and has been used for centuries in various forms to cure all types of ailments and to promote a stronger, fitter and healthier body. This particular method also combines some basic Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) exercises that can actually stop cravings and feelings of self-doubt before they take hold and eventually destroy your personal goals for weight loss.  Above all, this incredible method for weight loss requires nothing more than the power of your mind and a willingness to believe that it will work for you.  It has been shown to be extremely effective in procuring a positive attitude towards yourself that can make a big change to both your figure and your self esteem.

The two-part technique is very easy to master and, if adhered to, it’s benefits can be seen within two to three weeks.  Practice this initial visualization exercise every day until you achieve your ideal weight and combine it with the EFT integration method, described later on, for maximum results.  Keep using the technique to maintain your ideal weight once you achieve it.


Visualization Toning

 Find a time in the day when you won’t be disturbed and strip down to your underwear.  Now stand in front of a mirror (full length is best), relax your body and your mind as you take a good look at yourself.  Breath in and out slowly as you focus on your body.

Now take a slow, deep breath in and slowly allow your eyes to close whilst mentally holding onto the image of your body.

Continue holding your breath as you begin to individually visualize those areas of your body that you are unhappy with.  Your stomach perhaps, or maybe your upper arms or thighs.  Now, as you exhale slowly, see those areas start to change,  See them become smaller, tighter, more ton ed and defined.  

Keep your eyes closed as you continue to slowly and deeply breathe in and out now, visualizing your body becoming thinner, more toned and more defined with every breath you take.  

Now take a mental snapshot of your new improved body.  Visualize a dial at the bottom of your image and, in your minds eye, mentally turn it until the image becomes sharper, more colourful and so bright that it glows.   

Open your eyes again and look at your body in the mirror.  You’ll notice how your physical reflection has faded slightly.  Now allow your eyes to close again and feel yourself relaxing more with every breath you take.

With your eyes still closed, visualize your new and improved body again.  Take a very deep breath and turn the dial again to intensify it’s color, sharpness and brightness even more. 

Repeat this process at least ten times during each daily session.


EFT Integration

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was developed in the mid 1990s by Gary Craig who was inspired by the benefits produced by the earlier Thought Field Therapy (TFT).  The technique focuses quite simply on applying acupressure to certain parts of the body through tapping key points which correspond to the Meridians used in Chinese Medicine.  It’s really a very simple and effective technique and can relieve many physical and psychological conditions.  When used in conjunction with the Think Yourself Thin Visualization Toning exercises, it can be particularly effective in battling against food cravings and addiction.  


EFT Points

Please note that the Think Yourself Thin plan doesn’t use every single EFT point in its exercises.  For simplicity and ease of adoption, we have found that the following eight points, when tapped as shown below, are the most effective in combating cravings when used in conjunction with the visualization toning exercises.

The Sore Spot – This is found on your chest in the area where you would  pin a badge. Gently tap with your fingertips until you locate an area that feels tender.

The Bridge of the Eyebrow – This is the point where the bone of your eyebrow turns into the bridge of your nose.

The Inside Corner of the Eye – On the bone in the inside corner of your eye.

Under The Eye – On the bone just below and in line with the centre of your eye.

Under The Nose – The space between your nose and upper lip

Under The Mouth – In the indentation between your chin and your lower lip

The Karate Chop Point – on the side of your hand, roughly in line with your life line.

When you’ve located each point, try tapping each one ten times and see what kind of feelings it produces.  If you’re feeling stressed, you’ll probably notice that you feel a lot more relaxed afterwards.  Try scoring the feelings you have before and after each tapping session between one and ten (one being the most relaxed and ten being the most stressed).


Controlling those cravings with EFT

So you’re desperately craving that chocolate bar in the cupboard and you know that you really don’t need it as you’ve just enjoyed a nice healthy lunch.  Here’s how to use EFT to rid yourself of the craving and get back on track.

 Tap your EFT points ten times whilst focuses on the object you crave (e.g. chocolate).  Say to yourself (either silently or aloud) “even though I crave this (say whatever it is you crave) I am still a wonderful person and I deserve to lose weight”.  

It may sound terribly corny, but keep repeating this mantra as you tap each point until you start to feel your craving diminish.  Eventually, after several minutes, you’ll feel a lot less like eating that chocolate bar and, hopefully, extremely proud of yourself for not yielding to the temptation. This method is so simple and it really does work. 


Making it Work for You

By integrating the simple EFT methods shown above into your Think Yourself Thin schedule, you will, with the self-belief and confidence that comes from your visualization toning, achieve the body you deserve.  Don’t expect miracles overnight but, day by day, see the difference that a positive and guided mind can make to your body size and self-image and start being the person you’ve always wanted to be.


Managing Stress – A life Changing Journey




What is stress?

 Stress is our body’s way of reacting emotionally and physically to any kind of external pressures or demands. Although this kind of response may be beneficial at times, like when it provides the needed strength and energy in times of danger, too much stress or a prolonged state of stress is harmful to our body.

 What causes stress?

 Stress is caused by a variety of factors for different people. For most people and for most of the time, it is usually caused by unexpected and unpleasant changes which we are not physically and emotionally prepared to handle.

 Some of the factors that have been found to contribute greatly to stress include the following:


Overwork – Working too hard with little time for rest and relaxation has been a constant source of stress for many people.

Home stressors – This is particularly true for those who live with an extended family or relatives. Another classic example of a home stressor is when a stay-at-home mother chooses to do everything for the family thereby tiring herself out everyday and lacking the time for a much needed rest.

Survival Stress – This is the body’s natural reaction when faced with physical danger. Our body responds with a burst of strength and energy which enable us to either “fight” or “flee” from the situation. We can therefore consider this as an acceptable kind of stress.

Internal Stress – This one is caused by none other than our own selves. When we think negatively and worry too much about things we can’t control and put ourselves in situations which may cause too much pressure or demands in our emotional state, we become stressed.

Environmental factors – These are the things around us that disrupt our normal lives and can put a strain on our emotional well-being. Some of these factors may include irritating people, noise, crowded areas, and emergency situations.


Who gets stressed?

 Stress is a classic feature of human life and has become part of almost everyone else’s system. I’m pretty sure that we have all experienced stress at one time or another, whether working on a highly demanding task, trying to get along with difficult people whom we have to spend most of out time with either at home or at work, or taking care of our family and having to work at the same time.

 People of any gender and from all age groups can suffer from stress and anxiety when exposed to any of the different stressors mentioned above.


How does stress affect us?


Stress has been known to cause negative changes to our physical, physiological, and psychological well-being, either directly or indirectly, leading to health problems, low work productivity, poor judgment, and broken relationships among many other things. Some studies even suggest that stress can literally kill us in the long run, as it contributes to the risk of having a heart attack or other fatal diseases.

 Some of the changes that can happen to us when we are stressed may include the following:


Physical changes – headaches, weight loss, abnormal fatigue levels, difficulty sleeping, body aches, increased susceptibility to colds and infections

Psychological / emotional changes – short temper, depression, lack of confidence, poor concentration, helplessness, anxiety attacks, loss of direction, inability to relax, crying spells

Behavioral – turning to drugs or alcohol, becoming destructive, forgetfulness, inability to commit to something or to make decisions

Relationships – intolerance of certain people, not wanting to socialize, decreased sex drive, nagging, resentment, problems with spouse and/or children


How to reduce stress


One of the most important things to remember when handling stress is that everything has to start within us. We can never control what happens in our lives but we can always choose how to face the stressful situations. Here are some ideas that may help prevent or reduce stress.

       Think positively. Negative thoughts have never solved any problem!

Accept changes as part of life and learn to deal with them.

Do something enjoyable at least once a day. This may take as little as 5 minutes of your time!

Strengthen family ties and develop healthy relationships with friends and co-workers.

Eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Join weekly yoga or dance classes, attend group exercises, or indulge in recreational activities that interest you. Having a healthy body is one sure way of protecting oneself against stressful situations.

Be aware of the different factors that cause stress in your life and make every possible way to avoid them.  

Develop skills in money and time management.

Reach out to other people and try to help others in your own little ways. The feeling of fulfillment that comes from being able to help people can boost your self-confidence and strengthen relationships.

Strengthen spiritual resources and develop a strong faith.


These are only among the tried and tested ways to reduce the stress in our lives. Some may be effective for other people while some of these may not cause any positive change at all. What is therefore important is for us to know ourselves better and to figure out which solution can help us overcome the different challenges that life throws at us each and every day. Remember, managing stress is not a one-time deal but rather a life-long journey to a happy and healthy life!